Monday, July 30, 2012

Street Fighter X Tekken Presents...1st Glance, 2nd Look

With Capcom's hope that the 2nd chance for this game comes with the release of the DLC and the start of the re-balancing process that I feel that a real look at what this game does well really needs to be highlighted. Let's be honest here for a second. I see the hate spewed at this game because of actions that don't hinder gameplay as much as people claim is unwarranted and you wanna know why? Most of you hating don't know what or why you're hating in the first place. You're doing it so you don't feel left out but while you're worried about how your peers are going to see you if you're not joining in then you're the one missing out. In the FGC and gaming period it's just one of those things that just so happens to be very commonplace. Now I'm not going to stand on my soapbox and scream I'm holier than thou because of my enlightenment on the subject because I was once there too. I took gaming advice from people who had no business giving it out in the first place. I got to the point that I'll be my own judge, jury and executioner when it comes to this stuff. And because of that I was able to discover things about games that others never did due to their complete dismissal because of not giving it that real chance. With Street Fighter X Tekken that's where we are now and I hope that after you read this you'll take that 2nd look and give this game the chance it deserves to nurture and help it mature into a great fighter that'll be enjoyed for years to come.

Question is where do we start to look. Honestly, the game at the core is fine. Conceptually speaking anyway. It just so happens that the execution of said concepts have been this game's downfall. If you want to look at Street Fighter X Tekken as a good game then you kind of have to very obtusely. Nobody said getting to the good was going to be easy though. Luckily though we don't have have to go that far. Remember that Capcom vs SNK 3 you always wanted? This is about as close as you're going to get to that for a long time. With that being said, Street Fighter X Tekken is made up of a lot of the basic concepts that made the CvS series so great. That CvS, especially 2 was a real middle ground of what was great about Street Fighter & King of Fighters and it was enough of both combined with heart and character that made those great games. What factors of this game links itself back to the Capcom vs SNK series?

Let's start with everybody's favorite, the Gem System. Gem Units are in a weird sort of way is a version of a Custom Groove System. Here's how. Gems as we all know bestow upon you magical super powers beyond your wildest dreams. Not really but we know how gems work though. Because the community never gave gems an actual chance here's what you missed. As usual, the meta-game for a fight starts even before it begins. The first meta-game in fighters is at the character select screen where all of your pre-battle setup takes place. In this game one of those games are the selecting of gems. Because the game was designed around this fact a lot of your gem selection flows right into Team Synergy. The game expects you to a degree to know that in order for your battle strategy to function correctly that all of what you've selected works within the confines given. Knowing what your characters do and combing that with the proper gems is what was supposed to happen but it didn't. The give and take of gems wasn't balanced correctly the first time in. I understand the idea and reasoning behind it, however it just wasn't executed correctly for something that was supposed to be the most important part of this game's pre-fight meta-game as it was touted to be. The future of gems are that they're supposedly being reevaluated so that they can be taken advantage of as they were meant to be. Problem is I think it may be way too late for that because of how the game is being played currently without gems and the backlash that follows when they're used. Maybe the balance changes make things better. We'll just have to wait and see.

Now how offense is played out is very similar. Ignoring jabs of course. But seriously though one thing CvS did so well was translate how SNK characters felt in their own games with a Capcom twist. I could only imagine if P-Groove got those EX Moves that I remember hearing was planned and possibly implemented in development. Street Fighter X Tekken however takes a different approach and tries to amalgamate Tekken intricacies into an established Street Fighter 4 base albeit a tad looser. The biggest example of this is the Cross Rush. Which is a magic chained combo which ends in a launcher. I use magic chain loosely but you get it. Tekken is known for strings and launchers and the Cross Rush puts those two together to nod what the other side is known for. Another Tekken nod that doesn't get as much notice is charging specials. Now charging specials is supposed to substitute for the lack of the Focus Attack. But you know how you can cancel a L2 charge and you get the powers of a counter. That's a nod to the Super Charger AKA the Kiai Tame Power Up. I remember when I first found out about it and was geeking because that was a cool nod and marriage between the two.

When we get into more of an indepth look how characters actually function what you may find might shock you. Street Fighter characters are still bound to a degree of links and Target Combos in a free form fashion but the offensive options they do have are a lot more open than from where they come from. When it comes to Team Tekken in order to have them feel as close to normal in a 2D as possible some healthy borrowing from another game had to take place. Tekken characters in Street Fighter X Tekken have the same basic combo structure as characters from...The King of Fighters. You're probably looking at this like WTF does this dude mean? Let me explain. The Tekken cast have a basic combo structure that usually works like the following: Normal → Command Normal → Whatever. Most of Team Street Fighter can't even do that exactly the way it's laid out because they're still bound to their links and Target Combos versus Team Tekken's strings. You've probably played the game and probably never noticed the similarity because I've never heard it brought up at all. The reason for me bringing it up is these things need to be highlighted because it shows that this was carefully considered and actually does work within the confines.

The confines however are a different story and another thing that just for me personally didn't quite add up. The game at its core is a loose version Street Fighter 4 that are allegedly lighter on the mechanics. This also helped Tekken players feel more at home especially with the fact that a lot of Team Tekken's strings are the same here and function mostly the same. The problem is characters still have one frame links and some characters on Team Street Fighter rely on it heavily for extended combos. From my understanding from the facts of the known is that this game was as usual and even much more so here was aimed at Casual Joe Blow. Joe can press buttons and things happen even more so than normally. So this begs the question of why does that execution wall even exist in a game like this?

To be honest I'm not really sure. It just didn't make sense as part of the formula but you have to have something to separate the players and I guess this was that. When it comes to looking at Street Fighter 4 and Street Fighter X Tekken I look at the 2 as I would NBA2K and NBA Jam. NBA2K is the rigid simulation of basketball while NBA Jam takes the basic formula and amps it up a bunch. Street Fighter X Tekken wasn't enough NBA Jam in this situation. I feel the game wasn't loose enough given what could've been possible. I do however understand in the development process trying to play to two sets of fans that do to some degree intersect and give them an experience that reflects both brands on show. So of course the game is more Street Fighter because it's Street Fighter X Tekken. And I expect Harada and crew to have Tekken X Street Fighter more Tekken like. So while I'm a bit confounded into the why I do understand and accept the game for what it is.

The only legit gripe with this game like I do most team games of this type is the lack of accentuating the Team Up. And this game could've taken advantage of that easily with the Cross Assault but it didn't. That was something that could've been borrowed from Tekken Tag. Give players a reason to experiment with certain teams of characters and the cool effects that come from that synergy. For the record the worst offender ever was NeoGeo Battle Coliseum just to state that. There should've been more Special D-Assaults. They had the teams and the cool to do it but it just wasn't executed. Shame that was. I really hope crossover fighters in the future play to that more. I understand why a TvC or Marvel can't but a X Tekken can given what we see in action. Time will only tell.

And that wraps up another episode on Triple Da God Schools Em. I gotta be honest. I'm really rooting for this game's second chance. I have my $20 ready so I can get Cody in the mix and Lalisa as well. What, I'm a huge proponent of that ship so please don't judge me. So let's try to be a bit more open minded this time. Leave all the nonsense at the door and try to give the game a true fair shot. It deserves that much and you owe it to yourself to do just that.

At this time I wish you all luck with your new found enlightenment and I'll see you on the battlefield.


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